I love thoroughbreds.
I love watching them gallop at seemingly g-Force type speeds whether it is over a manicured racetrack, a hilly paddock, or the laneways of a 5* event.
I love breeding them. The miticulous veterinary care and painstaking attention to detail. The veterinary science and research that goes into every ultrasound, therapeutic, and cover. And then that tiny black dot on the screen and another fist bump across the machine.
I love foaling them. The 2am phone calls leading to a scramble for Carhartts and car keys. A race against the clock as you cruise 60mph around the farm. And then the quick presentation of a white leg followed by a brown muzzle. The wiping of amniotic fluid from nostrils and holding a knee under ribs to sit sternal.
I love watching them walk within 30 minutes.
And run within a day.
I love watching them grow. They stand with the same presence at 60 days as they do at 6 years. They learn about social hierarchy as quickly as they learn about sweet feed. They assess the farrier monthly with the same inquisitive mind as they assess the Labrador retriever sharing their dinner.
I love prepping them. 75 days of beautification. Their coats glisten and their muscles ripple, every fiber of which shows what good management, good nutrition, and good exercise can do. Not drugs. Not steroids. No gimmick, nothing skipped.
I love watching them sell. Staring up at the screen as the 0’s accumulate and the smiles widen. A yearling who has never been off of its birth place standing calmly and proudly inside a crazed ring full of men and women snapping photos and raising hands. Showcasing that same inquisitive sensible nature that was born into them.
I love watching them be broke. The first surcingle, their first girth. They turn their head and nip at the first paddock booted foot that applies pressure to their barrel. The first time they recognize the partnership with the rider sitting upon them as they trot the hills and realize their are more speeds besides 0 and 60.
I love watching their first race. Will they feel that heart and competitive drive of their mother, father, and the 50 generations before them? Will they dig deep and find that 2nd, 3rd, and 4th gear? Will they break clean and finish strong? Will their ears be up as they break free from the group and open to their stride as they open the distance between them and the rest?
I love watching their last race. I love watching the grooms who have poured every ounce of sweat and tears into mixing grain and massaging muscles hug their necks for the last time as they load them onto my trailer. Some to return to the very farm where they took their first breath. Some to return to the very breeding shed where they were made. Others to the arena behind my barn. To learn how to gallop all over again, this time towards a XC fence. Their inquisitiveness responding to water, ditches, and banks.
I love tucking them into their stalls on a cold winter night and awakening them for their first horse show. Braided and gleaming, new muscles on different places. Ready for the next adventure.
I love thoroughbreds.
Thoroughbreds have kept me fed. Thoroughbreds have sheltered me. Thoroughbreds have picked me up at my lowest of lows, and saved my life when I didn’t think a life was worth living. Thoroughbreds have gotten me out of bed after disastrous nights, and put me to sleep after long and draining days.
Media would have you believe that thoroughbreds are surrounded by greed, money, and drugs. But those aren’t the thoroughbreds I know. Mine are surrounded by hard working men and women, steady hands and booted feet, pasture mates and babysitters and most of all, love.